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©Michael Player

Chapter 29:1-16 (ESV)

Posted on March 11, 2023  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 29:1-16 (ESV) - In the tenth year, in the tenth month, on the twelfth day of the month, the word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, set your face against Pharaoh king of Egypt, and prophesy against him and against all Egypt; speak, and say, Thus says the Lord God:

“Behold, I am against you,
    Pharaoh king of Egypt,
the great dragon that lies
    in the midst of his streams,
that says, ‘My Nile is my own;
    I made it for myself.’
I will put hooks in your jaws,
    and make the fish of your streams stick to your scales;
and I will draw you up out of the midst of your streams,
    with all the fish of your streams
    that stick to your scales.
And I will cast you out into the wilderness,
    you and all the fish of your streams;
you shall fall on the open field,
    and not be brought together or gathered.
To the beasts of the earth and to the birds of the heavens
    I give you as food.

Then all the inhabitants of Egypt shall know that I am the Lord.

“Because you have been a staff of reed to the house of Israel, when they grasped you with the hand, you broke and tore all their shoulders; and when they leaned on you, you broke and made all their loins to shake. Therefore thus says the Lord God: Behold, I will bring a sword upon you, and will cut off from you man and beast, and the land of Egypt shall be a desolation and a waste. Then they will know that I am the Lord.

“Because you said, ‘The Nile is mine, and I made it,’ therefore, behold, I am against you and against your streams, and I will make the land of Egypt an utter waste and desolation, from Migdol to Syene, as far as the border of Cush. No foot of man shall pass through it, and no foot of beast shall pass through it; it shall be uninhabited forty years. And I will make the land of Egypt a desolation in the midst of desolated countries, and her cities shall be a desolation forty years among cities that are laid waste. I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations, and disperse them through the countries.

“For thus says the Lord God: At the end of forty years I will gather the Egyptians from the peoples among whom they were scattered, and I will restore the fortunes of Egypt and bring them back to the land of Pathros, the land of their origin, and there they shall be a lowly kingdom. It shall be the most lowly of the kingdoms, and never again exalt itself above the nations. And I will make them so small that they will never again rule over the nations. And it shall never again be the reliance of the house of Israel, recalling their iniquity, when they turn to them for aid. Then they will know that I am the Lord God.”

Question to consider: In what way was Egypt like a weak reed that broke when Israel grasped it?

The seventh and final land to be judged by the Lord was Egypt. This word was given two days into Nebuchadnezzar’s siege on Jerusalem, “And in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, on the tenth day of the month, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came with all his army against Jerusalem and laid siege to it. And they built siegeworks all around it.” (2 Kings 25:1) The tenth year listed by Ezekiel was related to the time of exile whereas the ninth year in the 2 Kings passage was related to the reign of Zedekiah.

Remember that back in chapter 17, Ezekiel had a vision of two eagles in which we learned that Zedekiah had gone behind Nebuchadnezzar’s back and made a deal with Egypt, breaking his covenant with Babylon which caused the siege on Jerusalem.

Israel always seemed to look to Egypt for refuge even though God continually warned against this, and they always came to regret it. The only one who was called to flee to Egypt was Joseph to protect Jesus against the judgment of Herod, but just as Joseph was obedient to flee so he was obedient to return when the threat had ceased. In this case, the staff lent to them by Egypt turned out to be a fragile reed that broke and left Israel torn and beaten.

Egypt’s judgment was also because of their pride, for they thought they were the ones who created the Nile. However, God would rip them from the Nile like a crocodile which was captured with hooks in its mouth. The followers of Pharaoh would be like fish stuck to the scales of a crocodile and would be left to die without burial. Given the care with which Egyptians preserved their dead, this would have seemed like a terrible judgment.

Just as Israel wandered the desert for 40 years so Egypt would be destroyed and the people scattered for forty years. After that time, God would allow them to come back into the land of the Nile, but they would never again regain their power or former glory.


Dear heavenly Father, thank You for balancing the scales of justice. Help us to put our faith in You to bring justice to this world. May we be your instruments of mercy even though we experience hardships for the sake of Christ. Amen.